It’s an interesting question, actually, and not quite as much a no brainer as you’d think. But we’d like to point out, before we say anything else, that there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer… it simply depends on what you’re trying to achieve. So let’s explore this a little further. Where do your concerns currently sit?
Working out where your focus is, is a good starting point. For example is it on reducing energy usage, reducing your use of raw materials, or reducing pollution… or any combination thereof?
Once you’ve worked this out, your next step is to review the advantages and disadvantages of recycling paper overall.
Advantages of using recycled paper
Paper is made from trees. So when one uses paper that’s not been recycled, one is effectively adding to the demand for cutting down more trees. De-forestation is certainly a huge problem we face on this planet, and thus by using recycled paper you are, potentially, helping to reduce the loss of our wooded areas.
Processing the raw materials needed to make paper involves no small amount of energy; the transportation of the wood from where it’s cut, alone, is huge. So removing the need to do that can make a significant difference to the energy used in that part of the paper-making process.
Clean air and water conservation
Industrial waste is a big problem now. It’s spewed into the atmosphere, and poured into our rivers and oceans. Re-using something, rather than starting from scratch, can help reduce some of that overspill in certain locations.
Enhancement of environmental awareness
When a business uses recycled paper for its leaflets, for example, it is making a statement. The quality of some recycled paper is actually pretty high now, but there’s no reason why a note on the back can’t explicitly tell people that recycled paper has been used. And that will say a lot about a business, as well as remind people that it’s worth them including such considerations in all their purchasing decisions too.
However, though all the above points are valid, significant, and meaningful, there is more to consider before making a final decision.
Some of the disadvantages of using recycled paper
Adding to the pollution mix
The process of recycling can actually be quite polluting in itself, particularly with respect to paper. Chemicals and fossil fuel-consuming transport are required to take old paper, mash it up, and start again. And bearing in mind that bleach is part of the process, you swiftly realise it has quite a toxic element and the waste water is a problem.
Adding to the energy mix
Transporting paper that’s been collected for recycling requires energy. It’s not a zero carbon miles process. And the recycling process itself isn’t energy-free either. This doesn’t make recycling paper a no-no, but it is something you should be aware of if that’s your recycling focus.
The cost of the paper
In reality, if you need recycled paper that feels and looks as good as non-recycled paper, it will be more expensive. It’s just one of those things. The less polished look of a cheaper recycled option may support the messages you’re trying to convey, and if that’s the case then the cost won’t be such an issue for you. But we thought it worth mentioning.
Is there a third approach available?
Yes, for those who are particularly keen to ensure deforestation isn’t occurring as a result of their paper usage… there is. Ensuring that you use paper supplied from wholesalers who certify their paper is sourced from properly managed and sustained forestry will give you the peace of mind you’re looking for.
Paper marked as FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council) certified means you are choosing products produced with care of the world’s forests at the forefront. As standard, at Braunston Ltd we stock FSC certified products, so you are assured peace of mind in that respect even if you’re not thinking about recycled paper for your leaflets. However, if you’re keen to use recycled paper we’re happy to work with that too. You just need to let us know.
So… hopefully that’s given you food for thought, but please do pick up the phone and chat through your concerns if you need to know more. We can then guide you on which route is actually going to be the right solution for your business needs.